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Slow living and post-traditional societies

May 17, 2013

Processes of globalization have provoked a variety of well-known concerns, such as the increasing economic power of transnational corporations and forms of cultural imperialism, but they can also – paradoxically – facilitate positive change, such as the forging of networks of solidarity across national boundaries through new social movements that critique the deleterious effects of globalization. Such social movements are often centrally concerned with the quality of everyday life in the context of what Beck calls second modernity (2000; Beck et al. 2003). In this account, modernity has not been superseded in contemporary existence but has become ‘increasingly problematic’ as the certainties of traditional life trajectories have been replaced with a more indeterminate existence, characterized by risks and opportunities (2003: 2). Second modernity ‘can be seen as a vast field of social experiment where, under the pressure of globalization, various types of post-traditional social bonds and post-national imagined communities are being tried out in competition with each other’ (Beck et al. 2003: 16). In such post-traditional societies, traditional practices, structures and values are ‘dis-embedded’, subjected to scrutiny, challenge and re-evaluation (Giddens 1994: 96-97).” (p.9)

Ref: (emphases in blue bold mine) Wendy Parkins and Geoffrey Craig (2006) Slow Living.  Berg: Oxford, New York.

Reference is to: Beck, U. (2000), ‘the cosmopolitan perspective: sociology of the second age of modernity’, British Journal of Sociology, 51(1): 79-105

Beck, U., Bonss, W. and Lau, B. (eds) (1994), Reflexive Modernization: Politics, Tradition and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order, Cambridge Polity Press.

Giddens, A. (1994) ‘Living in a Post-Traditional Society’, in U. Beck, A Giddens and S Lash, Reflexive Modernization: Politics, Tradition and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order, Cambridge: Polity.


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